by: JoAnn Schinderle, Community Networking Coordinator, HandsOn Twin Cities
“We all want to be free. That is human nature. We want to be free from pain & suffering & limitations. If we look deeply into our hearts, we know what we want; we are in love with the condition of liberation. Our pain is the feeling of alienation or separation from our beloved, which is this freedom… but finding true nature is not for the timid. It requires courage & a sense of adventure, a fearless heart & optimistic strength.” – Ahmed Ali
Upon returning from 5 days in the woodlands of Georgia after being surrounded by 100+ of my co-workers from across the nation, I did a lot of reflecting. As I was flipping through my journal filled with jotted down quotes, pages of travel experiences, and expression of thoughts, I came across this Ahmed Ali quote and it struck me as a perfect explanation of my time spent at the 2010 HandsOn AmeriCorps Conference.
The overlying message of our small & large group discussions could always be related back to ‘freedom’. The incessant want of freedom; whether we strive to break away from social stereotypes, economic hardships, or personal limitations; we all seek understanding, understanding of ourselves and understanding of others. Once that harmony is achieved, only then can we move forward. Move forward towards bridging gaps between those in need and those who can help. As AmeriCorps Members that is our commitment. We made a commitment to help liberate the misunderstood; the separated; the suffering, with efforts to better someone else’s day to day. Ahmed Ali couldn’t be more correct when saying that ‘finding true nature is not for the timid’. We have to obtain confidence, commitment, and continue to keep that optimistic strength.
I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet other HandsOn AmeriCorps Members, to share ideas, goals, stories, and to have solidified the reasons why we are making this commitment. Together we can make a difference and I for one am excited to be a part of a nation-wide movement to ‘be the change’.